In these days of marginal gains, getting a rugby player’s diet right is a major component of the game, with nutritionists becoming vital backroom members in any team. The phrase “rugby food” is something that every competitive player should think about. And its importance is underlined by the fact that Wasps and England star James Haskell has set up a health-and-fitness website jameshaskell.com . Here James goes into detail about just how important refueling is to be competitive, with every last spoonful being monitored.

Premium-grade fuel

Protein based muscle foods are now part of every rugby star’s essential kit, as top players look to attain peak fitness through “fuel”. You can do the same by following a strict rugby diet. Do you know about the benefits of almond butter, for example?

It is high in protein and vitamin E, and sportspeople such as Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton swear by it. Likewise, protein yoghurts are full of energy, allowing you to play at the top of your game. As Haskell writes on his website, “Remember- it’s not about being the best. It’s about being better than you were yesterday.”

P is for protein

The reason why proteins are so important to a rugby diet is that they are one of the building blocks of body tissue. They also act as a source of fuel, so experts recommend consuming protein post game or workout to help the body recover, although you should get your protein from quality food rather than supplements.

As rugby nutritionist and former Polish international TJ Jankowski says, “no supplement should ever be the cornerstone of a diet. It shouldn’t even be a replacement for quality food. They are used as a ‘supplement’ to your current plan.”

Every calorie counts

Start today and make a note of what you eat and when, making a habit of weighing your food so you know exactly how many calories you’re taking in. Small changes to your diet will make it easier to keep to a regime that will help you gain that extra percentage over your competitors. Experts even suggest using smaller plates and cutlery to make portions seem bigger.

A game of percentages

You will begin to notice improvements in your health and fitness straight away by switching to muscle foods. Lean meats such as top-quality chicken, high-protein shakes and yoghurts should be part of your rugby diet.

The guys in the upper echelons of the sport make hundreds of minute changes to their regime to stay at the top, and you should do the same if you want to be competitive. No one is asking you to adhere to the mind-bendingly detailed pre-game preparations of top pros. However starting on a rugby diet will help you become more competitive.

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